PORTLAND — For the second year in a row, Gov. Paul LePage has declined an invitation to attend the annual MLK Holiday Celebration Breakfast to be held Monday by the NAACP Portland Branch.

LePage has informed the group that he plans to attend a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in Waterville, said Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Maine’s governors traditionally have attended MLK events hosted by either the Portland or Bangor branches of the NAACP. LePage also declined multiple invitations from Bangor this year, Ross said.

LePage made national headlines shortly after his inauguration last January, when he declined invitations to MLK events hosted by NAACP branches in Portland and Bangor, saying he had prior personal and professional commitments.

When pressed by reporters, LePage said he wasn’t “going to be held hostage by special interests.” He added, “Tell ’em to kiss my butt” if they wanted to “play the race card.”

He then attended the Waterville breakfast, hosted by the local Rotary Club, which he had attended in the past as mayor of the city.

A member of LePage’s staff said he wasn’t aware of the governor’s schedule on Monday.

The Portland breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. The cost is $25 per person.


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